Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Double-Barreled" Life: Winery Lender Can't Resist Being Part of the Business

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Double-Barreled" Life: Winery Lender Can't Resist Being Part of the Business

Article excerpt

Gewurztraminer is the first wine that Adam Beak remembers sampling. A family friend managed Navarro Vineyards' tasting room, and brought the unfinished bottles to dinner.

The taste, or perhaps the name, made an impression. It's an aromatic white. "Gewurz" means spicy in German. Beak, 49, was only in eighth grade at the time--"we were tasting a little, not getting schnockered"--but formed an interest. Now, he's the one handed the wine list at business lunches.

Beak worked for a time at a commercial-finance company where part of his job included inventory auditing, including wineries. When an opportunity came to begin lending to winemakers, he took it, and built up the business. In time, he became CFO to a small winemaker, where he learned more.

Beak, who jokes that perhaps he was born to winemaking, having debuted in "Champaign," Ill., is currently senior vice-president and manager of Bank of the West's North Coast Agricultural Banking Center/Premium Wine Group, based in Napa, Calif. The group, with an $800 million-plus portfolio, banks all winery and related businesses--even down to suppliers of corks. "We lend up and down the business," he says, from the wine giants to the many small, often family-owned labels.

Can someone not be a wine enthusiast and still bank the trade? Beak pauses, as if sampling a new vintage: "There are probably a few out there, but it would be difficult. I can't imagine a vegetarian lending to a feedlot operator."

Lending is his day job. Since 2005, Beak has been an investor in Sean MinorWines, producer of a label by the same name as well as the Four Bears Winery brand. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.